The other day I was at my hair salon and I had a revelation (don’t all revelations happen at the beauty salon?  I’m kidding.  Mine usually happen at 4 am).  I was chatting with a woman that I knew by acquaintance and I realized I was being… well… not me.  I was cute with my red hair dye plastered to my head, and I was witty with banter.  For everyone watching us, they would have thought we were enjoying each other’s chit chatter.  But, it wasn’t authentic.  Internally, I was guarded.  There was a roaring in my head.  In that moment I realized, I was hustling for my own worthiness.

She and I went back and forth about this and that, and soon the conversation was over.  But, I left with a queasiness in my belly.  “What was that?” I asked myself.

I found this woman intriguing and I wanted her to like me.  I felt like I was back in high school and she was the “cool” girl and I was the kid who fumbled over her words. When I was in high school, I really didn’t stand a chance next to the cool kids.  There was not a sophisticated bone in my body. I was chubby, freckle faced and awkward.  Not cool at all.

After my stylist washed all the dye out of my hair and I was sitting under the dryer to set my curls, I eyed this lady under my lashes.  I pondered what was happening for me.  I wanted her validation, but I felt uneasy around her.  When we interacted, I was a pretend version of me.  In fact, if I thought about it, I felt this same exact way every time I saw her.  She reminds me of many people who have come before her in my life that have brought on the same uneasiness within me.

This weariness goes even deeper though.  When we interact, I feel disconnected to myself.  When I talk with her, it feels disjointed and inauthentic.  We make little eye contact and it seems like we are both in a hurry to get to the next thing.  This disjointedness could be about me, but it could also be about us.  Perhaps we are both guarded in our interactions with each other.  I guess her experience of the interaction ultimately doesn’t matter because this particular issue isn’t about her.  It’s about me.  I just know when I am around her, and other people who conjure those same feelings in me, I am hustling for worthiness.

This concept of “hustling for worthiness” we can attribute to Brené Brown, who is the thought leader for authenticity and living a wholehearted life.  Brown’s quote goes like this: “You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for worthiness.”  For some reason, with this woman and with people like her, I hustle.

Standing in my story means acknowledging that freckle faced, painfully awkward girl who preferred to melt into the walls of the high school halls.  It means acknowledging all of those times when I have my own bravado to contend with and I am worried about what the person in front of me thinks.  It means accepting that there have been plenty of times in my life like the one at the hair salon with many different people and I have felt inauthentic.  It also means standing firmly in the confidence and the authenticity of me.

Standing in my own authenticity.  There’s some real power in that.  If I am not hustling for worthiness, perhaps I am owning it.


  • Katherine Phifer

    Art Therapist + Leadership Mentor

    Katherine Phifer is a digital course creator, therapist, art therapist, coach and educator.  Katherine has a twelve year psychotherapy background and marries this history with a coaching certification. Katherine is an artist at heart with a passion to connect with others in meaningful, healing and soulful ways. Using mindset techniques and success tools, Katherine works with women to tap into their own soul aligned leadership skills.